In their article, Avoiding Plagiarism, Sue Burkill and Caroline Abbey discuss plagiarism issues faced by new students in the university. They note that an increasing number of students are accused of plagiarism, yet many of them are not aware of the fact that the work they hand in is plagiarized. Students in undergraduate, graduate and professional schools alike are all often accused of plagiarism (Collins & Amodeo, 2005). In the article, they offer guidelines on how students can avoid this. However, the authors do concur that students can find some of the guidelines and rules concerning plagiarism confusing.
Some of the recommendations they give are discussed. First, the authors advise that students should use their own words when they take notes from books or articles. They note that it is important to include the “author, title, page number, publisher and date of publication” (Burkill & Abbey, 2004) when one quotes directly from an article. Materials obtained from the internet should be referenced accordingly. Their advice is that students should learn how to copy internet addresses, date of access and the last date the page was revised. They warn that one should have a reference page to cite all the works that the student has used, and a bibliography for all the works the student consulted.
According to Burkill and Abbey, students often have trouble writing individual accounts of the work undertaken by teams and groups. They recommend that a person should distinguish between collaboration and collusion. Students who turn in similar work are in danger of collusion, and this is considered plagiarism. They recommend that in order for a person to avoid collusion, he or she should first check with the instructor so that he can get the necessary requirements for the work. The students should ensure that the work handed in is independent. To avoid writing the same things, students should ensure that they do not write the work together. They recommend that students should reference all the sections, including work written by other students. Many students who work in groups find it easier to hand in group assignments. Burkill and Abbey suggest that students who are discouraged from turning in group assignments should raise the issue.
In addition to articles, books and web pages, students can also be accused of plagiarism when they translate work that was not originally written in English. Students should avoid buying professionally written essays and submitting it as their own work, since this is also considered plagiarism (Collins & Amodeo, 2005). Burkill and Abbey suggest that one should only use another person’s work when it is necessary to do so. They reiterate that students should use their own words and incorporate their own style when writing. They add that instructors need to see that the students know what they are talking about, and they should not ‘copy and paste’ other people’s work and present it as their own. Many tutors use specially develop software to assist them in finding cases of plagiarism in students’ work. The authors give examples of such s software as Turnitin, which is mostly used in America, and another program used by the Joint Information Systems Committee in the UK that is modeled after the American program. They however mention that the intent of the tutors is to make sure that students avoid cases of plagiarism.
They conclude by giving web sites that offer advice concerning different issues of plagiarism such as why students plagiarize, strategies of avoiding plagiarism, penalties of plagiarism and the effects of different plagiarism cases. The web sites also include information that will help students in distinguishing between plagiarism, cheating and offences that are conducted during exam time, copyrighting, self-plagiarism, plagiarism detection services and how to identify plagiarism within texts among other important information. Burkill and Abbey note that instructors are aware of the kind of pressures that the students face. However, they warn that that does not give them a reason to cheat.
Burkill, S., & Abbey, C. (2004). Avoiding plagiarism. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 28, (3), 439-446
Collins, E. M., Amodeo, M. (2005). Responding to plagiarism in schools of social work: Considerations and recommendations. Journal of Social Work Education 41, (3) 527-544